The exhibition season is for working out the kinks and trying new things that can be deployed in the regular season. And since all sports leagues are copycat leagues, prepare to see a lot of shoe picks attempted in the NBA this season.
Blake Griffin executed a shoe pick perfectly against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, underhanding his sneaker into the face of Cory Joseph, who was so disoriented that he lost track of his man for a second. It’s a genius play, really. An illegal screen is about the player being in an illegal position when contact is made; the rule says nothing about putting footwear in the path of the other player.
It was two years ago when Ronnie Price of the Lakers whipped his sneaker at Andre Iguodala of the Warriors and earned himself a technical foul. Perhaps that didn’t become a viable defensive strategy because Iguodala had the ball, so this could be the NBA’s ways of saying it’s okay to throw a shoe as long as the other player isn’t the one with the ball.
This is a great example of a sneak(er) attack. If it happens again, Griffin may get the boot. Hopefully he won’t sock it to an opponent in the future.